April 3rd, 2018

Patience, Patience (or) Spring on the Farm

Every day beginning about the first of March starts with us farmers obsessively checking the weather forecast, trying to strategize about when we might be able get into the field & plant. We make lots of lists and over-ambitious plans. We re-write them for the tenth time when it decides to snow on a random weekend in late March. We feel the springtime pressure continually rising, just as the sap slowly rises in the trees, bringing green to their tips. We dig our fingers into the soil, testing it for moisture, wondering when will be the right time to till. There is compost to spread, fertilizer stacked and waiting on pallets in the barn, and seedlings on deck, ready for their debut into the great windy world. We sow more seeds. Patience, patience.

L: A very wet couple of days in March yields 2.5” of rain. R: Baby plants in waiting!

Every spring brings with it enormous promise and an equal measure of stress on the farm. The weather determines our move from day to day, and even hour to hour. In dry moments we rush around getting as much done outside as possible. On rainy days we work indoors, seeding the thousands upon thousands more seeds that will slowly grow and be planted outside over the coming weeks and months. There is nothing more enjoyable than working in a t-shirt inside of our propagation house on a dreary March day: seeding summer crops and dreaming of the tomato sandwiches to come! It’s a perfect antidote in the season of fits and starts. As are the spring bulbs pressing through the wet soil, bringing bright colors & delicious scents that promise the rain will indeed go away eventually.

While we continue to fret about the weather and wonder if spring planting will ever get underway, we are simultaneously harvesting the last of the crops we overwintered in the greenhouses. With the passing of the equinox and lengthening of the days, the greens—spinach, lettuce, and chicory—are growing by leaps and bounds, while other winter crops signal the end of their lifecycle by gifting us delicious spring delicacies like rapini (the flowering stalks of our kale and cabbage plants). The shift from heavy winter foods to the lighter foods of spring is pretty abrupt, and arrives with its own perfect timing every year.

L: Spring bounty for our Winter CSA Share! Beets, frisee, spinach, scallions, onions, lettuce, rapini, chicory & radishes. R: Beautiful peachy hyacinths ringing the bell on spring’s arrival!

Bidding farewell to rutabaga for now, we welcome spring by gorging ourselves on giant bowls of sweet tender greens. You can practically feel the vitality of these spring foods, which are chock full of the vitamins we’ve been craving during the dark days of winter. It only gets better as we start to pick the first tender spring lettuces and radishes in April, though we won’t really be in the thick of spring goodness until May. We practice patience, knowing there is so much to look forward to! The sun will come out, we will sink our tiller into the soil once more, and begin our spring work in earnest.

Happy Spring from us at Even Pull Farm! We will see you at Market again before you know it.

Learn more about Farmers Erik and Beth at Even Pull Farm’s website or follow their farming adventures on Instagram at @evenpullfarm.